Capturing (Balancing and Being Present for) 2015

Glenn Robbins tagged me in his tweet of this thoughtful post on reflection and his goals for 2015. It concludes with a short set of words toward which Glenn has taken aim for the year ahead. He shares the tweet below from Jon Gordan regarding resolutions and gearing up for the new year.

I’ve been sitting on the post for a bit as I thought about what my word or words would be. A few days in, and I think I’ve noticed a trend. This year has all the makings of being about capturing for me. From logging miles to snapping photos, from blogging daily to recording stray conversations, I’m hoping this year ends well-documented.

My time in D.C. has a clock on it, and from the moment I got the offer to come out here, I have held it in my head that I need to savor the experiences, the connections, and the learning. Hopefully, capturing as much of it as possible will allow me the kind of mementos my grandparents evoke when I visit and hear about their slides from Europe or the photo albums my grandmother has curated over the decades.

As I write this, two other words seem key to the ballyhoo of capturing and documenting the year I find myself in – balance and presence. I don’t want to be so set on capturing memories that I forget to live them, to be present. As I document and curate that documentation, I want also to live in what I’m documenting. I want to balance the capture of memory with presence in what will be remembered.

Thinking about this, I turned to Daniel Kahneman’s TED Talk (embedded below) on “anticipated memory.” I’d seen it a bit ago, and it was a good time to turn back to it. This led me down the Google rabbit hole to the video below with Jason Silva’s take on Kahneman’s ideas.

“We all become architects of our mental narratives,” Silva says. I like that. As I think about my life as trying to be an architect of the future I’d like to see, I’m also architect of the past I will recount.

Documenting it here and in other spaces allows me to “italicize the memory” as Silva says. In the end, it’s no different than my grandparents’ slides and albums. I know they were present, and I know they worked to find balance. I also know from the stories my father and uncles tell when my grandparents have left the room that the memories being relayed and italicized aren’t the whole story.

History never has been. I suppose this year, I’m committing to capturing the story knowing full well some parts will be left out.


2 thoughts on “Capturing (Balancing and Being Present for) 2015

  1. The girls and I have stolen an idea (where from I don’t recall, unfortunately) and have been recording highlights from our day each night. So far it’s been really easy because we’ve spent the first three days of the year in NYC. I’m sure we’ll miss days, but I’m excited to look back, even in just a month, and see what we have captured. As you say, some parts will be left out, but we’ll capture some worth remembering.

    • What you’re describing is really two wonderful pieces, right? The first is the memories and artifacts you’ll be able to look at and talk about a month or a year or a decade from now. The girls will be able to say to their kids, “Here are your grandma, your aunt, and I when I was your age.” The second is the act of the reflecting together, the practice of weaving the family together to say, “What about today was the thing that meant the most? What was worth remembering?”

      Those conversations, alone will weave together the sense of identity for your family. The girls (and you) will be able to say, “This is who we are. This is how we look at our days.”

      That’s pretty cool.

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